Prediabetes is when your blood sugar level is higher than it should be but not high enough for you to be diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. It’s estimated that 84 million people over the age of 20 in the U.S. are prediabetic, but 90% don’t know that they have it.
If you are prediabetic, the good news is that you can still make lifestyle changes to prevent yourself from progressing to type 2 diabetes.
Prediabetes symptoms can be hard recognize or completely absent. For those who do experience symptoms, you may notice that:
- You’re a lot thirstier
- Frequent urination
- Blurry vision
- Increased fatigue
Although these symptoms are rare, there are risk factors that can make you more likely to become prediabetic and eventually diabetic without the right changes.
Risk Factors for Prediabetes
The exact cause for prediabetes is unknown, but family history and genetics appear to play an important role. We do know that prediabetics start losing the ability to properly process sugar (glucose). This causes blood sugar to increase, instead of being used by the cells of their body for energy. You can learn more about blood sugar and insulin here.
Other than family history and genetics, other known risk factors include:
- Tobacco use
- High cholesterol
When it comes to preventing prediabetes from progressing into type 2 diabetes, a lot of it comes down to lifestyle choices. Race, age, and family history are out of our control. Choosing to eat right, exercise regularly, and not smoking are all in our control, and will help promote overall better health. Even if you have a family history of diabetes, just reducing your weight by 5-10% and exercising regularly can help prevent prediabetes and type 2 diabetes.